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well Thank You Dennis and Laura for that
particularly warm introduction it’s actually my second visit to Kansas City
this year and I’ve enjoyed both of them very much I am sorry to hear about the
Royals but I think maybe this weekend we can help cheer you all up by cataloging
the tremendous destruction devastation and the great Armageddon of the First
World War hopefully it’s to put everyone in a better mood well so this this
subject is obviously one that that I’m quite interested in I’ve always been
interested in it I think like a lot of Americans for whom maybe it’s not
necessarily our historical war of choice I mean other than here in Kansas City I
know you’re a bit eccentric here but for most Americans it’s not really the first
kind of war of choice as far as historical buffs and young students
discovering history and so on like a lot of Americans I actually first discovered
it by reading Barbour Tuckman’s history of the guns of August which still sells
quite briskly as I notice every time I check my own sales figures on Amazon
it’s a little bit frustrating to realize that you’re still being outsold by a
book written more than 50 years ago so what I say about Tuchman are I say it
what do respect because I was actually quite inspired by her book I mean to
give her her fair due I’d say I’ve gotten at least three or four books out
of the inspiration she provided me so I’m quite fond of both that book and
also Barbara Tuchman and even some of her essays on the practice of history
another book of which I’m quite fun all that said I have to say there are a few
problems with the guns of August as I’ve discovered over the years in my own
research on the subject now I think that her generation it’s not just her I mean
you could look at a lot of the historians writing in the 60s at the
height of the Cold War you had Agent P Taylor on the British side writing about
railway timetables and such you had for its Fisher and his acolytes and Germany
writing about not only mobilization plans but generally speaking kind of
large designs these plans that were almost kind of set in stone
German premeditation of the war this war that was somehow kind of fated
to happen you can understand what people were thinking about then we’re all
creatures of our time and at the height of the Cold War particularly right
before the Cuban Missile Crisis when Barbara Tuchman was writing in fact
there’s kind of an urban legend that her book was actually passed back and forth
between Khrushchev and Kennedy III think there’s some oddities with that story it
supposedly happened I think at the Berlin Summit only the book didn’t come
out until a year later so I’m not quite sure exactly what the real story was
with Khrushchev and Kennedy but you can see kind of what she’s getting at
military alliances were obviously all the rage in the Cold War
there were two rather enormous military alliances the Warsaw Pact in NATO which
did seem to drive events arms race well of course you had the arms race of all
arms races the nuclear arms race the height of the Cold War eventually
leading to this rather charming strategic doctrine known as mutually
assured destruction so you can see why someone would write about the first
world war as she did by starting with the plans of the powers and the
alliances and then skipping over the entire month of July before the war that
was the oddest thing when I reread her book after kind of learning about the
subject she actually skips over the month or month or five weeks in between
the Sarajevo assassination of the 20th of June 1914 of the outbreak of war and
early August she actually skips over Sarajevo that was the other really
astonishing thing that I learned when I read it
she gave a line to Sarajevo and about a paragraph to the July crisis she also
did something really interesting and her kind of introductory remarks the
beginning of the book she basically told her readers upfront that she would not
be covering Serbia and austria-hungary in her book she was worried about space
I suppose and the dramatic structure of the thing and she thought it would add
undue length if she described the Balkans well that to you could begin to
understand if you’re thinking about the early 1960s the Balkans were kind of the
back of beyond in the Cold War they were behind the Iron Curtain and not
talked about after the Tito Stalin split and and even then they were not exactly
a kind of hot zone much like that even the Caucasus had kind of disappeared
behind the Iron Curtain ethnic questions in general had kind of receded to the
background even Turkey my own home of long duration had just disappeared to
some extent from the story I mean most histories of the Cold War you hear a bit
about Turkey is a kind of bit player in the Cuban Missile Crisis she loses her
Jupiter missiles and you know gets a little bit hot and bothered and that’s
about it so you can see why the story is only about the great powers and mostly
about the arms races and the alliances I like to think that our own generation
has had a couple of reminders both of the importance of geography and I also
like to think the importance of contingency what McMillan used to call
events my dear boy events you actually have to get into the nitty-gritty of the
thing and understand those events for my own generation and probably even the
Millennials I suppose although some of them are too young I suppose 9/11 will
inevitably be the touchstone where everyone remembers where they were the
world before 9/11 well I think partly because of our rediscovery of the
Balkans with the wars in the former Yugoslavia our rediscovery of both
history religion even something like terrorism obviously with 9/11 I like to
think we have a better understanding now of what was really going on in 1914
recent books don’t paint the war as this inevitable thing which had to happen
that was faded somehow in the structure of the international system the
alliances between the powers their war plans and mobilization timetables
important as all those were in the play out of the story they don’t really
explain why it happened they don’t really explain why Europe went so
suddenly from total peace to total war in one month in 1914 what are the more
interesting although I think also not entirely satisfying books in recent
years to come out of the origins of war I was booked by David Fromm can about
ten years ago he’s better known as the author of a piece to end old peace a
book with which I will soon be competing with my own history on the Ottoman war
which is actually a much better book I think
and his book on the outbreak of the war itself Europe’s last summer which came
out 2004 but he had a really interesting metaphor it was quite striking he said
the war came to Europe a little bit like clear air turbulence and I want to calm
flight unexpected even by the pilots and some of the passengers because possibly
the the seatbelt signs weren’t on and so and this has actually happened from time
to time in commercial aviation where suddenly everyone is just buffeted about
the plane and those unlucky enough not to be wearing their seatbelts might find
their heads bouncing off the ceiling that he said was what happened in 1914
this sudden in total shock and there is some interesting evidence
for this among economic financial historians Neil Ferguson has looked at
things like the bond market he says well there was no expectation of where it
wasn’t priced in Michael Nyberg who I think you’ll be hearing from tomorrow
morning I think his written very eloquently about about kind of ordinary
people in Europe and their lives and how in fact the war came almost like this
bolt from the blue entirely unexpected maybe in some cases like in Hitler’s
famously it was not entirely unwelcome but it was not expected that is to say
it was not something that was kind of on people’s horizons I think that’s true I
do think though that from khun’s metaphor took things a bit too far the
war didn’t come out of nowhere the war did come from somewhere both temporally
and of course geographically my own contention is it didn’t come quite from
the place that people thought that it did so what I’d like to do after 9/11
people used to talk about the world of 9/10 that is to say the world before
9/11 seemed did realtor the geopolitical landscape everyone seems to remember
that day and it’s true no one was really expecting several planes to hit the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon and wanted to crash from Pennsylvania I
don’t think anyone was expecting that I know I wasn’t I mean I remember where I
was I I’d watched Monday Night Football the night before I think the day before
I watched the US Open final Pete Sampras got trounced by lately Hewitt
I remember the papers were talking about that and they were talking about shark
attacks in Florida and there was one really colossal scandal in the New York
papers because I was actually in new work on 911 that was it involved a
little league pitcher who had falsified his age documents he was 14 and he had
been pitching in the 12 and unders and that’s what people were talking about
they certainly were talking about Islamic terrorism they weren’t talking
about it Osama bin Laden they weren’t talking about Peshawar in the Northwest
Frontier and Pakistan so what were people talking about on the 27th of June
1914 if I can pull up the there we are what were people talking about well if
people were following current affairs at all which admittedly not everyone was
doing in 1914 but let’s say the people who were actually reading the better
newspapers here’s what they would have been talking about they would have been
talking about the Balkans now if you looked at this part of the world the
world of June 27th was not particularly peaceful in fact the world of June 27th
if we’re gonna go back even as as little as three years had seen no less than
three Wars which might not have been great power Wars but they were certainly
Wars which impacted the lives of thousands if not millions of people the
first of those Wars had embroiled Italy with the Ottoman Empire this war
something like you might call it the reductio ad absurdum of you know either
the high area of imperialism or colonialism essentially the Italians put
forth the claim which went back to the Berlin Congress of the 1880s which
stipulated that certain powers were entitled to compensation if other powers
made certain moves long story short France sent some troops
into Morocco’s of the Italians said this gives us a right to send troops into
Tripoli now don’t ask me why that gave them that right but there was some kind
of an odd legal pretext but so essentially they invaded Tripoli Libya
as we would call it today and before long the Ottomans had discovered to
their horror that they actually had no way of getting troops there because the
Aegean Sea and basically the eastern Mediterranean were now crisscross by
Italian vessels and the ottomans did not have a fleet which could compete so that
even some of their top military officers people like in there
Hacha later pop she was not pasha yet mustafa kemal later out of turk they
actually had to get there essentially incognito they had to travel
in disguise as civilians and go in by way of British Egypt it was an
interesting war it was actually the first modern war which saw the use of
what we might call Italy semis strategic airpower dirigibles dropping bombs are
there were a few naval skirmishes but it was quite one-sided it see who’s quite
one-sided in Libya although interestingly the fighting when the
Italians tried to go in land beyond the coastal towns they were bogged down and
the most savage fighting and this is where and there and stuff that came out
both cut their chops was interesting up in the suburbs of Benghazi so while that
war was happening meanwhile several of the Balkan states were kind of licking
their chops temporarily setting aside their differences those being the so
called Vulcan League formed of Serbia Bulgaria Montenegro and Greece and they
had all agreed they hadn’t agreed on everything
oh they hadn’t agreed on on who got every bit of Macedonia but they had
basically agreed to team up and attack the Ottoman Empire while she was in a
war with Italy basically piggybacking on the Italian conflict to get their
revenge centuries of humiliation and oppression by the Turks and so on are
they pounced quite quickly and they actually won a victory which actually
surprised a lot of people in Europe now in the wake of this war and here we’re
getting closer to where we stood on June 27th in the wake of this war and then a
brief reprise of that conflict the second Balkan war which broke out in
1913 as you might imagine partly because of the successful aggression of these
Balkan states there was a massive wave of refugees pouring into the ottoman
empire mostly Muslims now it is true that some Christians were fleeing in the
other directions but for the most part because the Serbians are pushing down
south the Bulgarians actually tried to push
here which turned out to be a little bit of a mistake because Greece and Serbia
then teamed up against them and basically kept them out of kept them out
of Macedonia all of the gains of these powers of course came at the expense not
only of the Ottoman army but of many of the local
Muslims who began fleeing in colossal numbers into Turkey if you looked at
constantinople istanbul itself that basically turned into a refugee camp the
Hagia Sophia or aya Sophia which may or may not soon be turned back into a
mosque by the regime of our Diwan had become essentially a cholera infirmary
these refugees are pouring into Turkey now the problem of any refugee crisis
their immense problems it’s not simply about how you care for if you can these
refugees it’s also where you put them and so the Turks were trying to figure
out where to put several hundred thousand of these Turks pouring in and
one of the places they decided they would would begin to put them was down
here on the Aegean coast this is actually where a lot of the refugees the
kind of refuge of the Balkans they end up being dumped I actually have some
personal experience of this my wife and her family they’re actually Turkish
refugees from Bulgaria who ended up in Bor so now in this case many of them are
going as far south is Smirnoff some of them are up about here now the problem
with this is that this region in Turkey was actually pretty heavily Greek
Orthodox Christian and so many of these Greeks are not only now being persecuted
to some extent by way of kind of revenge for what has been done to the Muslims of
the Balkans many of them are actually getting forced out of their homes in
part to make way for the new arrivals and so you have this ethnic explosion
building right here in western Anatolia and here’s where things stood on June
27th the clock was ticking the third Balkan war was about to break
out between Turkey and Greece Athens had sent an ultimatum essentially you must
stop this maltreatment of the Greeks of Anatolia to which the Turkish government
of course replied we’re doing all that we can but you can hardly blame our
Muslims you know for believing as they do or behaving as they do considering
all of them have just been expelled from their homes in the Balkans everyone is
expecting a new round of ethnic cleansing to break out and most of all
here’s the most interesting thing I discovered the reason the clock was
ticking was because of a naval race there’s not between Britain and Germany
the naval race which occupy several acres of books on the shelf is a great
book by Roy Masey on this subject he has a wonderful
one more title dreadknot you know in his book of course about the sénèque scible
buildup of tensions between Britain and Germany the problem is it’s not actually
true and if you look at it if you look at it there had been a really intense
naval race between around nineteen six in about 1910 that it’s sort of petered
off then basically stopped around 1911 because the British were winning and the
Germans had pretty much given up and no one was really talking about there was
however a naval race here the ottomans had discovered that they had no way not
simply of getting troops to North Africa to fight Italy they discovered in the
Balkan wars they couldn’t even ferry troops across the Aegean because the
Greeks had naval superiority and so the ottomans had placed orders for
dreadnoughts the first of those dreadnoughts was expected to arrive in
july 1914 built of course in British shipyards so the Greeks were based and
the Russians are watching this too the Russians themselves are terrified of
the arrival of the Greek dreadnought but the other thing which terrifies the
Russians is that in the course of the war with Italy the Ottomans that
actually closed the Straits here thus cutting off Russia from essentially here
only warm water access to world markets the Russians however do not want a new
war between Greece and Turkey because the last war had given the Turks a
pretext to close the Straits if the Russians are desperately trying to stave
off this war that’s the interesting part here is that the expectation you know a
betting man or someone who was let’s say trying to read the tea leaves in the
bond market would have been expecting a war to break out shortly between Greece
and the Ottoman Empire a war which however may not necessarily have spread
because first of all the powers had no interest in this the only one who had a
direct interest was Russia and Russia did not want the war to happen the other
powers are looking at this and well they’re seeing yet another possible
catastrophe which they hope will not embroil the powers but they had recent
experience of dealing with it a London conference had convened in the course of
the first Balkan war basically almost the entire length of the first Balkan
war had gone alongside this conference in London and the powers had done what
they could basically they ganged up of course
against the Turks but for the most part they had adjudicated a settlement which
worked more or less well although the of course the revisionist powers then
fought the second Balkan war but the precedent was there possibly a new
London conference possibly the powers might even have recoiled in mutual
horror at a new round of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans so this then is
what I think was the most likely scenario as everyone woke up in the
morning of the 20th of June 1914 possibly a war to be breaking out in the
Balkans a third Balkan war a war which however might well have put old
diplomats on high alert they were already on high alert they may have
convened a conference and the world then would have you know kind of teetered
along along its way if I can get to the next slide there we are so here we are
on the 28th of June 1914 no one is expecting of course this day to be
terrifically different from the last least of all Franz Ferdinand it gets up
in his hotel hotel illa jots actually still I sorry the hotel Bosnian illage
outside Syria was actually still there believe it or not he gets up you know
dashes off a note to his children they had just deposited their children
and in this little resort town in today’s modern Czechoslovakia no papi
and mami can’t wait to see you on Tuesday now it’s a Sunday morning you
attend service in a chapel you know he and his wife they get all kind of doled
up dressed up for the for the royal progress they’re about to make through
Sarajevo and of course they weren’t expecting that there were seven
assassins lined up along the case waiting for them no it’s interesting
about the conspiracy and here’s the thing a lot of people are actually quite
dismissive of conspiracies what they call conspiracy theories profession look
closely in history they’re all over the place now they may not necessarily be
secretive you know it may not necessarily be the knights of the round
table in the kind of the Dan Brown world of whatever he called it you know the
Illuminati but I mean this was actually a pretty open conspiracy the black hand
was it was sort of kind of known by intelligence officers it wasn’t as
well-known as though not other not Branagh the the kind of the larger a
Serbian League of the now no defense it was known there were plots
it was known there were assassins was known there all these kind of secret
handshakes in the Balkans I mean the Young Turks in Turkey had come out of a
similar secret society this all that was known it was known that this was
possibly risky you know this trip and in fact on Franz Ferdinand’s previous royal
progress they had actually lined to see this was to Romania they had actually
lined the streets with a much heavier security cordon Franz Ferdinand hadn’t
liked that so much you know he liked for his subjects to see him and so he
actually requested a lighter security cordon the thing was quite well
advertised that oddly enough two days before he had actually gone through the
street bazaars of Sarajevo you know just basically mingling among the people and
of course nothing had happened unfortunately this time of course there
were seven assassins lined up on the K three of whom had been trained and armed
back in Belgrade as we know today by this kind of conspiracy of officers in
the black hand of which the leading one was a ‘this drug Luton dmitriyevitch
Doom III which interestingly left a confession a few years later there was
sort of a last will and testament of the assassin Princip – you know and well
they asked Princip if you had any regrets you know he was dying in prison
there administering last rites you know Gretz about helping to unleash
this this bloodbath armageddon of world war and and he said no if i hadn’t done
it the germans would have found some other excuse he was kind of an early
proponent of the war guilt school interestingly dmitriyevich in his own
confession shortly before he was executed for another crime he had a lot
of blood on his hands you know he had been personally involved in the
assassination of the king and queen back in nineteen three he also murdered a
crown prince a little bit later and that’s why he was about to be executed
well anyway his last will and testament he put down in paper that yes he had
organized the conspiracy he also said and it’s interesting that everyone
remembers this part of his confession but not the second he also said that the
russians had given him a green light and he said that they had given him funds
now we don’t know why he said that we don’t know whether it’s true
we do know however that there was a conspiracy and that there were seven
assassins so does that mean it was fated to happen well no necessarily I mean
they did have the street blanketed pretty nicely as you can see by these
numbers here did it have to happen well something was going to happen surely we
all know that terrorists sometimes pull off the big one oftentimes they fail in
this case only three of the assassins had actually been given proper training
the others had been recruited locally the seventh and last although oddly
enough he was actually given the first position which made no sense you can
actually tell by his name Mehmed bah sheesh he was a Muslim he had
been recruited as window dressing you know to throw investigators off the
scene of the crime so they wouldn’t notice that the other six were all
Serbian Nationals even if they were of course subjects of austria-hungary in
this Serbia had plausible deniability well the first two basically did nothing
they just kind of stood there on their hats you know as the car is winding its
way down the Royal progress down the middle a car if ur along the Apple Cay
the third assassin zabrina bitch and he was the first assassin lined up there
who had actually received his training well he did actually act he didn’t have
a pistol he had a fused bomb and so you know he basically he lit the fuse you
know he readied he aimed he fired through and he threw it right at the
Archduke’s car and he actually hit Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the cheek
and he actually bruised him no seriously not severely but seriously in and it
then you know kind of grazed off and detonated behind the car right behind
him and there were several more serious injuries there was a military officer
called Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Sheahan in the kind of the staff
entourage who had to be taken to the hospital a couple of bystanders were
injured but luckily there were no fatalities and the Archduke and his wife
they’re shaken up and slightly bruised for both fine and so they proceeded on
with the program and the Archduke was not assassinated and the third Balkan
war broke out between Greece and Turkey which was then doused by the powers and
the 20th century hurled on an uncertain except that didn’t happen no what did
actually happen oddly enough is they did continue on and they went to Town Hall
and they gave a bunch of rather boring pre-prepared speeches you know
platitudes my own favorite part of this story is when the mayor’s a Muslim Fahim
Effendi’s he’s reading out the speech he had prepared and so you know he’s giving
these kind of these kind of pro forma remarks you know as you can see welcome
to Sarajevo we’re so grateful to have you as you can see the people of
Sarajevo you know are very very fond of you and what are you talking about they
just threw a ball at me you know by it by this part he’s getting a little bit
kind of pissy you know and they’re not really quite sure what to do next the
the program the original program they’re actually supposed to go back down
retrace the footsteps then turn here and then go onto the museum there was an
alternative plan considering they had just had an assassination attempt to
call off the the risky part of the plan because this Franz Josef Strasser was
quite narrow here so the other idea was they would make a left turn at the
Kaiser bridge going through the Muslim Quarter seen as much safer than the
Serbian neighborhoods they would just go to lunch basically I mean why not you
know just go to lunch and get get out of Dodge and that was probably the most
sensible plan that plan was vetoed by one man and one man alone and that was
the Archduke Franz Ferdinand not because he was desperate to see the antiquities
at the Museum no because he was an honorable man and he wanted to go visit
the wounded military officer at the garrison hospital which unfortunately by
a random coincidence happened located basically in the same quarter of the
town as the museum meaning they would proceed along essentially the same route
as formerly now this still should have been okay because now they were on the
lookout for assassins and so they had basically reconfigured the motorcade and
the plan was you know to avoid the Franz Josef’s crossa to hit full-speed coming
down here and then you know go in by a different route that wouldn’t be
expected by the assassins and meanwhile the trouble spot were all the assassins
seemed to be so far as they knew there was only one but they figure there might
have been more somewhere along here the first bomb had been thrown by the
Riverside which was the left side and said I actually put a body guard in the
left side of the car and the running was one of those old-fashioned cars that
had a running board and so he was there to guard from the left so should have
been fine essentially the plan was that by the time they got down close to the
Latino bridge they should have been reaching full cruising speed you know in
kind of stick-shift terms you’d probably be like shifting into fourth gear you
know I may be hitting I suppose in that area you’d probably be hitting about you
know 40 or 50 miles per hour if you’re really lucky probably not quite that
fast cuz they’re an urban area at that speed getting off a kill shot would have
been virtually impossible now it is true that had they turned here at the Kleiser
bridge they would have been dealing with gruba but of course he was just on a
single corner of the bridge so it’s possible he might have gotten off a shot
but even he would have been shooting at a moving target none of these men were
exactly Marine snipers Gavrilo Princip had had some military training and
apparently it was probably good enough but he had actually tried to join the
military back in the Balkan Wars I tried to volunteer to fight for Serbia they
had rejected him he had basically washed out of training after a couple of days
because he was too weak and sickly so he’s not exactly a crack sniper now as
things turned out when they got down to about here instead of accelerating and
hitting fourth gear the first car kind of activated the clutch hit the brakes
made a right turn because that was after all the original plan now it’s still
unclear to this day whether he just forgot or whether the military governor
putty or heck forgot to tell him we don’t know for sure why this happened we
do know though that had happened that the second car fall of him that the
third car followed and the third car of course is the one in which the Archduke
his wife plus York we’re travelling this third car made the turn but the third
car is the first where there were people in the car who realized it was a wrong
turn and they barked at the driver to turn around he struggled a little bit if
the clutch trying to get the car into reverse and so the car stood there
motionless for you know probably well on five six seven eight maybe nine seconds
and that was enough for governor of Princip to alter the course of world
history so I think anyway shots now why did it matter this thing
is really a little bit slow there we go why did it matter well if you look at
the great powers of Europe and this is really just kind of an Eastern Europe
map that’s because that is after all where the crisis is originating now
obviously this crisis is going to renowned much more dramatically in
austria-hungary than any of the other powers austria-hungary after all is just
a next bosnia-herzegovina that’s why incidentally the black hand
and neither odd nor Brahma had been formed to basically overturn this
annexation put through finally in 1980 even though the Austrians had been there
since the 1870s Belgrade is actually the Serbian capital is is located literally
on the austro-hungarian border and so you have immediately a security crisis
froster Hungary not to mention the fact that everyone’s blood is up because not
just the heir to the throne the only thing to remember about Franz Ferdinand
now he wasn’t simply the heir to the throne the actual Emperor Franz Joseph
was an octogenarian who was not expected to live much longer he had actually just
gone through a kind of protracted illness it was said by some that the
only reason he had recovered was because he wanted to spite his nephew because he
knew his nephew had been waiting for 30 years to become emperor I mean they were
terrific Lee unfarmed of each other Franz Ferdinand head of course married
famously if not a commoner he had married he had married a noblewoman who
was not of sufficiently high rank to meet a Habsburg standards of royal
protocol and so their children have actually been you know essentially cut
out from the royal succession that is forbidden from ascending to the throne
themselves so there was bad blood between the two of them so the emperor
was not shall we say entirely unhappy with the new who’s that Franz Ferdinand
had been killed however I think his reaction was colored more of course by
the shock and the anger and the offence caused by the Serbs so Franz Ferdinand
he was not simply the heir to the throne he basically he had his own government
that he was running from Belvedere Palace he was largely already
responsible for military affairs the army the common army was essentially his
bailiwick so he was an important man it was not nobody
that had been assassinated yo the equivalent in let’s say I don’t in
modern American terms would have been not necessarily the vice-president but
you know somebody possibly chairing to the Joint Chiefs of Staff you know
possibly someone higher up like the Speaker of the House third in line for
the presidency someone of that nature in other words a very important policy
maker and by no means a figurehead had just been assassinated
so obviously the Oscars are not going to do nothing everyone is expecting them to
act and no one knows exactly what that act will be it didn’t necessarily have
to lead to war one of the really interesting things about the story of
the July crisis when you look at the austro-hungarian side is that in a
curious way the most hot-headed policymakers people like Conrad from
Hudson Dorf Chief of Army Staff you know the equivalent of Moltke a multi the
younger usually cold in Berlin there’s quite famously belligerence he had been
arguing for years that Austria needed to deal with Serbia it said he had
advocated going to war with Serbia something like 25 times in 1913 alone
but everyone knew what he thought he wasn’t really the wild card his policy
line though that is a kind of a short sharp strike might not necessarily have
led to a larger conflagration that is the powers would have been hard-pressed
to react so quickly unfortunately nothing really happened quickly in the
Dual Monarchy of austria-hungary least of all in the Army which had developed a
reputation for if if not grotesque impotence then something approaching it
not simply because it had sat out the bulk in wars even though many people
were expecting Austria to intervene but among other things a colonel Rado had
actually sold a copy of the mobilization plan to the Russians
he had also sold interestingly enough copies of at least bits and pieces of
the German mobilization plan to the Russians he had then committed suicide
as the story would go I don’t actually know the details so I can’t tell you
definitively what exactly actually happened but we do know that the story
the extent that is of the scandal was hush stop so it was probably actually
much deeper than people thought so the Austrians were kind of seen as
incompetent and they were that was the real problem
among other things when Conrad is talking about immediate mobilization for
whatever reason he did not block the decision to send most of the army on
harvest leave in July now many historians that is it going
home to help with the harvest many historians put a kind of Machiavellian
interpretation on this saying well you know this was a way of kind of pulling
the wool over the eyes of other diplomats that that austria-hungary was
pretending like it wasn’t actually gonna do anything well I’m not quite sure if I
understand this interpretation that austria-hungary by hamstringing its own
military and making it impossible to move before August in response to an
assassination which happened in late June I’m not sure if this necessarily
indicates competence much less the kind of Machiavellian brilliance
comrade as we know when you look at the inner policymaking circles in Vienna was
hamstrung not only by the incompetence of course well his own incompetence been
the incompetence of the military but there was stout opposition coming from
one quarter in particular that was east fan or Stefan Tisza the Hungarian
minister president now says 1867 the so-called ask like a compromise
Austria had to give considerable autonomy I mean almost full sovereignty
except for common matters of foreign policy and security and so on to Hungary
now Tisza did not want to go to war with Serbia not because he liked Serbs he’s a
little bit like Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand although he didn’t like Tisza
also didn’t like Serbs but for that reason both of them and particularly
Tisza thought that going to war with Serbia was kind of a bad idea
because if it didn’t like Serbs why would you want more of them they were
already causing enough problems in Hungary and Hungary was not exactly
treating its minorities with kid gloves they were persecuted rather savagely
maduro’s yet as the Germans like to say of the approach towards the population
they’re all be kind of Hungarian eyes because we might say in English well so
tis is stoutly opposed eventually though the Serbs get so crazy both in kind of
what is being said in the Serbian press and in the general response to this
business but even he finally has to go along
unfortunately of course it took several weeks for this to happen now during the
period when Tisza was still opposed the only way that Conrad and the Foreign
Minister Leopold from battled thought that they could break his his opposition
was by getting the Germans on board now this is partly because of course they
also knew that they couldn’t really do anything without German support they
knew that there was at least a possibility that Russia might intervene
whether directly or indirectly in any bulk in conflict they knew that Russia
had always taken to put it mildly an interest in bulk in affairs in fact the
Russian Minister in Belgrade Nikolai Hartwig is often credited if that is
indeed the right word with being the mastermind of the bulk and coalition
which had teamed up to attack Turkey in 1912
well heart fig incidentally and this is another one of those little stories that
I found quite quite fascinating heart fig they said when he hears the news
from Sarajevo that is that the Archduke Ferdinand had been assassinated he
actually held a bridge party that evening and was heard remark well let’s
say he said several things which didn’t exactly indicate ondu sympathy for the
Austrians when he finally did show up about 12 days later two semi officially
condole with his Austrian counterparts Baron from diesel in Belgrade things
went badly rather quickly he did he denied the story there was also a story
going around which was actually true that when they had the funeral all of
the other allegations put their flags at half-mast
the Russians did not he said no no no not true
gross slander and then he said though and it’s not true about this bridge
party you know utter slander my enemies spread this story he then died of a
heart attack inside the Austrian Legation it was amazing about this story
of course was that the the serbs immediately assumed that he had been
murdered by the Austrians so incidentally did his daughter who came
in she started rummaging around you know to see if he had eaten or if he had been
poisoned and the Austrian said no he was here for 10 minutes he didn’t even have
time to eat anything well did he smoke anything alright yes
he smoked two cigarettes and so she took those and she put them in her purse
you know his evidence on the Serbian press then had a field day and they
ended up erecting all these monuments in town to the Russian Minister now
incidentally just this year I don’t know if any of you guys picked up on the news
wires that Serbia has actually unveiled a new statue of Gavrilo Princip national
hero but back to the Germans okay so the Germans what are they gonna say what are
they gonna do that’s the big question Tiz eyes beginning to kind of think oh
well maybe the Serbs are crazy enough we might have to do something but Austria
is impotent and he will never go along unless the Germans say something
unfortunately the Germans were not there in Vienna now curiously enough the
austrians themselves kind of made this more difficult by not inviting anyone to
the funeral no theoretically the kaiser was supposed
to come Kaiser Wilhelm ii he was incidentally probably the only man among
Europe’s royalty who actually liked Franz Ferdinand he was a little bit of a
prickly character and for that very reason the Kaiser was kind of an
important wildcard in fact these are the two most important things as far as the
interplay of the personalities you have to remember to understand the origins
the war the most powerful voice for if not peace then at the very least voice
against going to war with Serbia and Vienna was the Archduke Franz Ferdinand
who was now dead the most important voice in favor of you know shall we say
not allowing austria-hungary to go to war in the Balkans had been kaiser
wilhelm ii in fact he had left the austrians out in the cold during the two
Balkan wars offering not even really rhetorical support for the Austrians
when they wanted to keep Serbia from getting a port basically on the Adriatic
Sea if we go back to the other map I’m not sure if this clicker actually works
but if you go back to the other map Serbia wanted the port the Austrians
didn’t want to have it the kaiser basically said rubbish nonsense he
actually said that a war with Slav dum that is with the Slavic powers now on
behalf of these Austrian pretensions in the Balkans would leave us quite cold
the Kaiser was a strange man and man of many contradictions so the trouble for
the Austrians was how to basically get him in the right mood now they wanted
petition him at the funeral figuring that he would be in the full flush of
rage over the murder of his friend but then the German said he couldn’t come
they said it was because of back pain privately through backchannels they said
it was because they didn’t actually trust that the Austrians could keep the
funeral secure from terrorism that’s actually why they didn’t send the Kaiser
because of this the Austrians had to send a mission to Berlin the famous
Hoyos mission that everyone kind of reads about in the books which leads to
the so called blank check now interestingly even the blank check you
know when you get up to the German side of this the Kaiser did not initially
respond positively he was actually initially quite cool he warned of
European complications and he did not think it was a wise policy to go to for
he wanted to make sure to kind of prepare the diplomatic groundwork the
problem with the Kaiser though was he wasn’t particularly strong he could
actually be swayed and manipulated and that’s what the Ambassador did he just
kind of dropped the subject brought a back drop the subject brought it back he
didn’t get far enough during lunch and so he waited until afternoon coffee and
during the afternoon coffee he finally got the Kaiser essentially to spill the
beans and say that you know he would support austria-hungary essentially come
what man if not exactly a blank check it was something resembling it in the sense
that he thought the Austrians should be free to formulate their own policy the
problem both with the Kaiser and then the chancellor bethmann-hollweg he kind
of signs on the next day is if they actually thought the Austrians would do
something sensible or at the very least forthright decisive their idea seems to
have been that the Austrians would actually move rather quickly with the
kind of pre-emptive military strike you know possibly just a temporary
occupation of Belgrade located right as it is on the austro-hungarian border
however of course nothing happened quickly the Austrian Empire they have to
win over Tisza they have to wait for the officers to come back from harvest leave
by the time the Austrians even come up and formulate the plan
for an ultimatum four weeks have passed they don’t finalize the text until the
19th of July and even that interestingly this is one of those odd they’re all
these histories that imply that there was this kind of austro-german in a
premeditated plan if so that plan was bonkers I have to say it was not a
particularly effective or clever plan and in fact the Austrians did not even
coordinate the terms of the ultimatum with the Germans nor the diplomacy in
fact when the German ambassador in Vienna asked to see the ultimatum he was
told it wasn’t ready yet even though it had already been sent to Belgrade they
lied to his face because they didn’t want him to read it
why they didn’t want him to read it I suppose you can guess when you actually
read the final thing shall we say not terribly diplomatic in its language
now they ultimatum itself now it is true and this is actually one of the points
Chris Clarke makes in his book The sleepwalkers there’s quite a good point
you know he says well everyone says this was like the most draconian ultimatum of
all time shock shock shock how could they draw up such a thing this kind of
you know from the from from some kind of pale Paleolithic era of diplomacy he
said you know I actually compared it to the the ultimatum that NATO sent to
melosa before the Kosovo war it was much less harsh this is not to say it wasn’t
harsh or that the Austrians were not expecting Serbia to reject it of course
they were there’s no mystery about that they’re quite clear about that you could
actually read literally the transcript of the council which they held in bear
tolds house in vienna a house amusingly called the strudel HOF
you know the house of strudel where they actually hashed out these
terms they all came and you know unmarked cars kind of high security and
secrecy except for the fact that Berthold the foreign minister had
blabbed about the ultimatum to a retired diplomat who frequently had lunched with
the British ambassador who promptly told the Russian ambassador all about it
so as diplomacy as even statesmanship this was about as incompetent as you
could possibly get worse was to come the Austrians had not even done their worst
yes so they’re trying to figure out you know
when to send the ultimatum and now originally they had wanted to send it
before the French president Prime Minister and foreign minister the latter
to basically premier and foreign minister the same person Rene the
Vianney arrived in st. Petersburg but it took
them so long to get their act together that by the time they’re finally
finalizing the terms there they’re basically already at sea on their way to
st. Petersburg the reason they didn’t want them to learn about it of course
was they did not want France and Russia close military allies going back to 1894
to be able to coordinate a military response you know as or as Berthold put
it in a rather elegantly it would be best if they did not get the news while
they were toasting champagne as he put it
so rather in artfully the Austrian send off a flurry of telegrams to st.
Petersburg asking when by chance president Wong kar-wai and premier
Viviani will be leaving st. Petersburg unbeknownst to them the Russians had
broken the Austrian codes they’re actually reading these cables and so
they actually knew that the Austrians were waiting until the president the
French president premier were going to leave and then they were going to
unleash the ultimatum there was a turn out they didn’t actually quite wait when
they finally did deliver the ultimatum in Belgrade twonk RA and the Tsar were
actually still on board a vessel you know in the Gulf of Finland toasting
each other’s health although they didn’t actually get the news until quite after
the the French president had left but so the ultimatum to Serbia it actually
unfolds in almost uncanny parallel with this summit being held in st. Petersburg
between the French president the the premiere of the Vianney
and the Russian Tsar now the French often get away with kind of what we
might say a rather unsuitable press on their own role in the July crisis some
of this is because of all the powers the French document seemed to have gone
missing most frequently regularly a lot of Russian documents are missing to give
an example what I mean by the latter of the Russian ambassador in Paris is
Volsky who had actually been the Russian Foreign Minister at the time of the
first Bosnian crisis when Austria and ex bosnia-herzegovina
eight he’d been humiliated on this famous sort of hoodwinking by the
Austrians and foreign minister Aaron toll he had been forced to resign in
disgrace as consolation prize was given the Embassy in Paris from which post he
spent the next half decade plotting his revenge you know who said when he
finally heard about Russian mobilization a bit like Khrushchev with the shoe he
pounded the table and said this is my war well this is my war man is Volsky
possibly the most important single diplomat in the July crisis arguably his
correspondence with zone off the Russian Foreign Minister goes missing for four
weeks between the 28th of June and the 23rd and 24th of July there are two
telegrams that that survived which we’re talking about kind of minor domestic
matters I was curious about French politics the French premier was by no
means very belligerent that quite the opposite he was sort of a milquetoast he
was a former education minister he was not actually supposed to be premier the
man he was supposed to be premier was Joseph Keio who was really the leader of
the left in France kiyo however was not allowed to become
premier even though his party had won a thumping victory in the May elections
because his wife was on trial for murder she was on trial for murder because a
newspaper editor had been publishing incriminating information about kayo and
she thought he was kind of not man enough to do his own fighting and so she
showed up in his office you know and said Monsieur I’m sure you your honor
you understand why I’ve come and he said no madam I have no idea why you’ve come
and then she pulled out her pistol and pumped six shots into him though she was
on trial for murder literally while all of this is happening
the Vianney in fact doesn’t even want to be in st. Petersburg you know he’s
mostly trying to follow the trial because he’s trying to figure it out if
he’s gonna get to be premier for much longer because if there’s an acquittal
it’s possible even though everyone knows she did it there might have been an
acquittal that kayo would take over and so he’s following that news he doesn’t
really want to be there one Caray on the other hand is quite enthusiastic about
this military alliance despite the fact they had to hold their nose a little bit
you know with Russia being an autocracy and so on the Tsar himself had to
this knows whenever they would play the Marseillaise which is you know shall be
safe a great anthem of lesbos to stay so there were problems shall we say in the
franco-russian Alliance said his problems where the Russians were always
afraid if the left came to power in France they would jettison it because
the left hated Russia no Russia was the land at the keynote the pogrom labor
before 1905 hadn’t even had the right to organize Russia is kind of a black hole
now this summit then is designed to smooth out these problems now it’s
almost like manna from heaven for plum care a that this news comes that Austria
is about to deliver this ultimatum to Belgrade
had he been informed about it well we have no proof that he had until he got
to st. Petersburg when in fact he was more or less informed about it and they
began talking about this Austrian action in fact he literally warned the
austro-hungarian ambassador not to do this saying effectively you should know
that Russia has an ally in France which is kind of Diplo’s diplo speak for we
will go to war on Russia’s behalf now what was agreed between the French
and the Russians in st. Petersburg we don’t know exactly we do know they have
a common diplomatic line which came out immediately after the summit you know
which was to war in Vienna not to issue this ultimatum to Belgrade the warning
would I call the anti ultimatum ultimatum actually got there a little
bit too late we do know however that Frances ambassador backed Russia’s early
secret mobilization to the hilt encouraged Russia to go even faster
there’s always been a claim that he didn’t have the backing of the president
for this which is kind of interesting considering that he had no authority
short of what was given him by the government in France and in fact he had
just spent four days huddling with the president and the foreign minister so
France we know that France takes a strong line ultimately almost certainly
before France took a strong line did that mean war was faded not necessarily
if you go as late in the crisis to the 28th and 29th of July there’s a rather
interesting puzzle in the chronology first of all Austria as we all know
austria-hungary declared war on Serbia on the 28th of July the day before
austria-hungary had informed Germany that she would not do so until about
August 12th because the army wouldn’t be ready until
then this is what Conrad had told battle not that Conrad wouldn’t have liked to
start the war as soon as possible but remember a good portion of the Army is
on harvest leave so the problem the Austrians had they got the denial from
Serbia that they wanted is Italy Serbia’s rejection of the ultimatum was
quite brilliantly spun they actually told they told all the kind of the
diplomats in the press right before they replied that they were going to accept
the vast bulk of the ultimatum they then proceeded to not do that in their actual
reply which rejected one clause unequivocally and kind of you know
buttered up the other ones with a language D defective like you know
rather than issue a public apology for the assassination and the involvement
you know they issued a public apology for having been accused of a crime just
not exactly the same thing but still it was a rejection which is of course what
the austro-hungarians wanted a rejection incidentally which was finally
green-lighted when Serbia got permission from Russia that is to say the Russian
said no go ahead and reject one Clause and we will back you wall stir hungry
there was still in kind of a difficult position they know now that Russia might
intervene they’re not quite sure what the scenario looks like and meanwhile
their army isn’t ready to march so Conrad
oddly enough the the uber belligerent war monger is the one who says no we
should not declare war now because we’re not ready to fight yet after all as he
pointed out you know in in the balkan wars and the russo-japanese war the
aggressors hadn’t just gone out and said we’re about to declare war on you they
just kind of invaded now they didn’t want to do the kind of rather dumb thing
and put the declaration of war right out there for everyone to see because
diplomatically that made no sense it’s getting your carrots and your sticks
backwards why declare war now and then wait two weeks to fight it makes no
sense Berthold however and this is I think
still not generally appreciated just how bizarre it was that he issued this
declaration of war two weeks before austria-hungary was ready to fight
there’s no logical explanation I think the explanation is actually a personal
one and this is my own take and I cannot offer you proof because I cannot read
the mind of someone who has been dead from any deck
but I do think that Berthold essentially was sick of all of the telegrams and
phone calls he was getting from everyone trying to mediate this peace because he
had already decided Austria needed a war with Serbia and now when the phone rang
or the cables came in he didn’t have to answer them anymore he didn’t want to
answer his phone and so he declared war on Serbia by telegram in French a
language which the Serbian Prime Minister did not know there weren’t many
diplomats in Belgrade who knew the language either in fact passage the
Serbian Prime Minister immediately sent off this urgent cable to Paris London in
st. Peter’s were asking them for clarification of the strange telegram he
had received and what did it mean it really didn’t make sense now we know
about this date the 28th of July that curiously enough the Kaiser woke up this
day and it’s true that the news had been kind of like sugar-coated then he hadn’t
been presented with the full news yet he had not yet read Serbia’s reply to the
ultimatum he woke up this morning and he went for a staff ride with one of his
odd route ops unfortunately he didn’t read the telegram that is a Serbian
reply until after his staff ride because by the time he read it he immediately
thought oh well you know even though they didn’t agree to everything this is
great you know you don’t need war now just basically take this as a victory
and if you need to have a symbolic occupation of Belgrade fine make sure
that they carry out the terms but this is a victory and he says we should get
this information to Vienna but he didn’t really like using the telephone and
oddly enough he thought it was such an important message that he shouldn’t send
it by telegram and so instead he sent it by private courier and by the time the
news got there Berthold had already declared war no
it’s interesting that if you fast for just one day later you can begin to see
some of the problems with this thesis of this kind of dire German premeditation
this plan this arch plan that the Germans had because not only had the
Kaiser gotten cold feet incidentally his plan is watered down so much by the
Chancellor because the Chancellor is still at least on the 28th of July
taking a harder line in the Kaiser one day late
however the Chancellor begins to have his own second thoughts and the reason
he got these second thoughts I mean you have to be very precise about the
chronology because basically he had had a really long day everything had gone
horribly wrong he was already exhausted he wasn’t sleeping well his wife had
just died he was miserable you know so got to be about 10 o’clock at night and
he’s panicking it was on the 29th of July he’s panicking and the cotton and
the Chancellor he is he’s basically trying to find out what Britain is going
to do now that he thinks war is gonna happen he spent his entire political
career most of his capital on rapprochement with Britain he had even
offered on one occasion to donate Germany’s high seas fleet to England as
a gift now as you might imagine the naval Minister was not fond of the idea
nor was the Kaiser but he really did not want to go to war with Britain this
would be like the you know the the ultimate humiliation reversal everything
that he stood for and believed and so he decides to call on the British
ambassador to try to basically just feel him out to see if he can get some pledge
of British neutrality which would just allow him to sleep at night you know
basically unfortunately wasn’t quite in his right mind and so he began in in
exchange for this thing he wanted from the British ambassador
he began doling out inside information it was a little bit like an act of
diplomatic striptease you know the Ambassador realized that he had to he
had like a live one here so he kept reeling him in he’s like well so tell me
about Germany’s war plan you and play you plan to invade Holland no no I can
assure you and this he actually could assure because the old Schlieffen blonde
they actually had been planning to go through Holland but not in the multi
plan yes I can promise you what about Belgium well I can assure you that so
long as the French don’t violate Belgian neutrality we will respect Belgian
territorial integrity at the end of the war okay that’s not quite a confession
but it’s pretty close so unfortunately Batman has now sold
away the store he’s given Britain it’s possible cassis belly by diplomatic
striptease amazingly he would not have done this if he had received a telegram
from Londyn before he met with the British
ambassador this was the telegram in which Sir Edward grey His Majesty’s
foreign secretary he was elliptical at the best of times and you know in this
message for the first time he gave this hint that if you know things came to
such a pass from the continent we would be forced into taking rapid decisions
and that case would not do to stand aside and wait well ok again this is
Diplo speak for we might actually go to war with you and in the language that
everyone knew that Sir Edward grey used this was about as hardline belligerent
as he could possibly fathom unfortunately however he read this
telegram after he had just confessed the darkest secret of Germany’s war plan to
the British ambassador he read it at about 11:00 p.m. and they threw him into
a panic because now he knows that Britain will probably fight and so what
did he do what did the German Chancellor do faced with the ruin of all of his
policies faced with the encirclement of Germany by three great powers he dashed
off a telegram to Vienna to his ambassador in Vienna ordering him to
force the Austrians to negotiate he rescinded the blank cheque at about 2:00
or 3:00 a.m. on the night of 29 30 July 1914 unfortunately for Beckman
austria-hungary had begun shelling Belgrade about ten hours prior to this
so it came about a half a day too late now just to shift the focus back to
France and Russia for a moment it’s interesting what’s happening there on
the same night the fascinating thing again not much as I love her Barbara
Tuchman is not always infallible in her book there’s a great dramatic scene you
know where Germany gives us ultimatum to France by now we’re on Friday July 31st
you know they basically the Russians come and they have to wake up to Ankara
and Viviani middle of the night you know good god these Russians they’re worse
insomniac sand they are drinkers you know what will France do will you
support us great scene great scene classic Barbara Tuchman but she’s two
days off didn’t happen on Friday happened on
Wednesday the reason it seen happen on Wednesday is because earlier that
evening after as I’ve just reminded you austria-hungary began shelling Belgrade
the news arrives in st. Petersburg the Foreign Minister zone off gets the Tsar
to agree to general mobilization now admittedly the Russians didn’t want to
advertise this right away and as it turned out it was a bit premature
because about an hour after he received this basically this order the head of
the mobilization division was called back to the phone and that Tsar changed
his mind now interestingly the Tsar changed his
mind he’s got a telegram from the Kaiser the so called Willy Nicky correspondence
what’s great about this is that he thought the Kaiser was responding to a
telegram he just sent about an hour of previously but in fact he didn’t work
that quickly the Kaiser was actually responding to a telegram and said the
night before and so he was actually kind of moved on false pretences if you will
but move to call off the dogs of war rescind the general mobilization orders
however in the process of making this move this decision to move towards
general mobilization back when they thought it was going to happen sazonov
sent a message to the ambassador Paris is Volsky essentially saying that due to
our inability to accede to Germany’s desire that we cease mobilizing we must
now regard war as imminent this on the 29th of July the same night that the
German Chancellor is attempting to rescind the blank cheque Russia has
resolved on war and she has involved France or at the very least informed
France and no uncertain terms that this is true it appears that the decision had
already been made it is true that the Tsar was still wavering and I mean what
at one of the sadder parts of this story is that despite the bad press that
monarchy gets these days while none of the monarchs in the end made any
decisive move to call off the dogs of war
in fact the extent that several of them were involved they did try the Kaiser is
we have seen we did try to get the Austrians to back
down that Tsar himself was consistently badgering and here’s the oddest part of
the story it’s usually said that they were badgered by the generals and you
often hear this kind of blanket condemnation of the generals and their
war plans of the time tables but in both austria-hungary and in Russia it was the
foreign minister who made the running and the key decisions in fact it’s our
as he’s getting badgered the next day because now Russia doesn’t want to lose
time and they are desperate for the Tsar to basically rescind his rescinding of
the order for general mobilization so desperate that Janish gave it’s quite
famously says next time I get the order I’m gonna go smash my telephone he says
I’m not gonna allow that sorry to back down this time but Tsar refuses to see
any of the generals the only man he will see his own off because zone off had
always had a reputation for being more reasonable for being a kind of man of
moderation he was expecting and hoping that says on/off would give him an out
instead says on/off convinced him that there was no alternative and that he had
to order general mobilization no I mean we know from the drama of the scenes
from some of the phrasing you know I do not want to be responsible for among a
monstrous slaughter people talk about this short war allusion and did they
have any idea what they were getting into well no they didn’t know what would
happen they didn’t know that the war would last for four years embroil much
of the globe of course they didn’t know those kinds of things but they knew they
were playing with fire but Tsar knew perfectly well that the order for
general mobilization would make war unavoidable the Germans had told him
such he knew this so did sazonov they were all agreed and decided the rest was
essentially just meson said the French you know artfully kind of putting
together this this plausible deniability you know when the final order for
general mobilization comes through pelea log the Ambassador mysteriously takes 30
hours to report the news to Paris you know the messenger got lost on the way
to the Telegraph station right and so the French continued to maintain you
know for many years afterwards that in fact austria-hungary had ordered general
mobilization before Russia entirely untrue
you know there are many aspects of the story that were massaged and manipulated
you know the powers obviously began kind of purging the documents and so on but
in the end unfortunately the story comes down to this the war party went out at
one out in Vienna it obviously went out in Berlin one out in st. Petersburg and
one out in Paris the only remaining question as of really
the 30th of July was who would win the kind of arranging of the diplomatic
Meisel and sin to get Britain to either come in or stay out I don’t actually
have my time how much time do I have left I have time for Britain Britain to
come in her staff well this is obviously a much larger talking to be covered in
two minutes but briefly a couple of interesting points Sir Edward grey is
best remembered I think to this entire story for his remark that the you know
the lamps are going on all over Europe we shall not see this again in a
lifetime it’s not always appreciated that part of the reason he was probably
saying and thinking this thought is that he was actually losing his eyesight this
summer he was not paying particularly close attention to events the coalition
was fragile a gray certainly Churchill definitely
asked with the Prime Minister were definitely on board with the kind of
Francophile policy that is these ongoing military conversations with France
however most of this policy even most of the knowledge of it had been concealed
from the cabinet even a naval agreement by with Britain and France had agreed
that basically France to cover the Mediterranean Britain Britain would
cover the coast had not been revealed to everyone in the end the paradox is that
partly because so many of the liberals in this was a cabinet of liberals were
actually opposed to the war a few of them stood up and a few of them resigned
however a lot of them went along because they were afraid I think in my reading
of the situation that if the cabinet fell then the conservative and unionist
party would take over and they were more belligerent so then in the end the
decision came down to contingency obviously the German violation of
Belgium was probably the deciding factor for at least some members of the cabinet
but even so it was quite a close-run thing and as late as grace
to the Commons the most curious thing of all is that he did not mention anywhere
in that speech in August third that he was about to send an ultimatum to Berlin
it was vaguely implied I suppose in the speech that Britain was going to take a
stand something to do with Belgium but the Germans had not yet violated Belgium
what he made the speech nor had he made it clear what the speech was actually
about Churchill asked him what do we do now and he says well we sent an
ultimatum to Germany which is quite interesting because he haven’t told that
to the Commons so there was a lot of the British side that was both confusing
contingents in the end I think the decision to go to war on the British
side is one of the most interesting and perhaps we could leave that for
questions if there’s time for questions is there time for questions there may be
time for one question my apologies I’m also going to I’m also going to let you
know that unfortunately Sean is going to be heading out today as well so I knew
that there going to be more than one question so think on that and we’ve got
a break coming up shortly feel free to ask him those questions during break and
during lunch I would also highly suggest that you head to the museums store where
you can pick up all of the books of well many of the books of our speakers some
of these speakers have many books I’m not sure that I ever there we have all
of them but go grab a book if you’d like him to sign it as well was there one
brief question I see one hand that went up and as we head into Q&A section in
our symposium today we do need to get them on the microphone and I know some
of you may not be comfortable with it I’m happy to repeat them if maybe but if
you’ll notice we do have some recordings going on and we would like to be sure to
catch those dr. Parsons it seems to me the war would have been avoidable if
asura had been willing to make any compromise whatsoever and they didn’t
they didn’t even talk about making a compromise they were going to invade
Serbia well I think the point is right I think the Austrians were obviously
unwilling to compromise Berthold did not want to compromise on the Germans in the
end maybe a little bit too late tried to get the Austrians to compromise
had they done so earlier that has had they withdrawn their
they’re blank support somewhat earlier I think would have been possible now I
will say though that’s not being entirely fair in the sense that their
demands on Serbia while perhaps slightly more shall we say onerous and they might
have been certainly we’re not entirely unjustified Serbia could also have
agreed to those terms at least made more of the show of clearly agreeing and the
Russians of course also could have convinced the Serbians not to agree I
mean I think in the end you were absolutely right about the Austrians but
you could simply flip it around and say that’s also true have the Serbians
essentially agreed to the terms or at least agreed in more diplomatic language
or have the Serbians not been given blanket
I suppose support by the Russians but you’re right you absolutely have to pack
you have to point to VIN and austria-hungary you cannot understand
the outbreak of the war that is kind of where the real story starts I agree with
that all right if you will please join me in a round of applause you

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